The hockey classic fundraiser hits home for the Colley brothers, Parker and Boston.
Not only is it a chance for them to face off with some of the best talent in their hometown, but the fundraiser for Crohn’s and Colitis gets Parker where he lives.
Parker was known as one of the most naturally gifted players in Maple Ridge in his age class, but also one of the smallest. At about Grade 8, when young teen hockey players were hitting a growth spurt, it became obvious that something was impeding his natural growth.
“He was a tiny little guy,” remembers Boston.
“I just wasn’t growing at all, Parker recalls.
That’s a particular concern for a hockey prospect, because junior scouts still pay a lot of attention to a player’s height and weight. A smaller prospect has to shine brighter to get the same opportunities as their larger counterparts.
An MRI reveal that Parker had Crohn’s Disease, and his ailing digestive system wasn’t able to absorb all of the nutrition a growing boy requires.
“I wasn’t getting everything I needed.”
His story fortunately has a happy ending. Parker got the right medication, and after a year on the sidelines, he came back stronger than ever. His Crohn’s has been in remission for about three years. He’s a solid 150 pounds and growing fast.
Last year, in major midget, he put up 64 points in 40 games, including 18 goals, making him third in league scoring, and tops on his team. His Vancouver Northeast Chiefs won the provincial championship, and he had 14 points in six playoff games.
That has led to a roster spot with the Prince George Spruce Kings of the B.C. Hockey League.
“Parker is a very hard working, skilled player who will put up tremendous offensive numbers for our team,” said Spruce Kings general manager Mike Hawes. “He has great vision and a high hockey IQ. When you combine that with his work ethic, it leads to really good things. Our fans will really enjoy watching this young man play”
He had some WHL tryout invitations, but has chosen to pursue a career in the BCHL, and use it as a springboard to a scholarship with a U.S. college in the NCAA.
His transition to the BCHL will be made easier by having Chiefs linemate Kyle Johnson join him, as well as another Maple Ridge product and former Chief in goaltender Laim McCloskey – the winningest goaltender in the BCMML last season.
Parker is excited to be played in Prince George.
“It’s a big hockey community, and they really support their teams.”
His goal this season is to earn an every-game spot on the roster.
“I want to have a regular shift, have a good year, and get some looks from colleges.”
Both brothers played all of their rep hockey in their hometown, then spent two years in major midget. After midget, Boston had the opportunity to play junior A hockey with Lloydminster Bobcats as an 18-year-old. He was there for three months, but when he refused to report for a trade, he returned home. He is with the Ridge Meadows Flames, and last season was selected the most valuable player and hardest working player on the team. He was second in scoring with 35 points – 13 goals and 22 assists – in 40 games.
Boston is undecided whether he will return to the Flames this season, as he wants a career in the forest industry, and is pursuing an opportunity on Vancouver Island.
The two brothers have only played together once before, in a game in the PIJHL, and enjoyed the experience. Boston put up three points.
“He’s got some good vision,” he said of Parker. “He was finding me with some pretty nice passes.”
They are looking forward to Saturday’s charity game, with the best from their home town.
I played in it last year, and it’s a lot of fun,” said Boston. “Ben [Payne] does a good job of putting it on.”
He enjoys getting on the ice with NHLers Brad Hunt and Victor Bartley.
“It’s pretty cool playing with those guys. It shows you how good they are in the NHL.”
• The game will be played on Saturday at 7:45 p.m. at Planet Ice. Doors open at 7 p.m. and admission is by donation.
• This year the silent auction is live, on the website www.golfandhockeyclassic.com. It’s open to bidders until 11:59 p.m. on Saturday night. There will be jerseys signed by P.K. Subban, Jonathan Toews, Vic Bartley and Brad Hunt, and other top flight sports memorabilia.
Ben Payne , Germany – Zweibrucken Hornets
Brad Hunt, NHL – Edmonton Oilers
Brett Sonne, Sweden – Frisk Asker
Brennan Sonne, Hong Kong Tycoons
Kurt Sonne, SJHL – Estevan Bruins
Connor Sanvido, CIS – St. Thomas University
Brandon Campos, Netherlands – HYS the Hague
Nick Buonassisi, CIS – UBC
Joe Olson, NOJHL – Abitibi Eskimos
Brian Kang, NCAA – Concordia College
Regan Soquila, NCAA – University of Alabama
Justin Fuller, BCHL – Coquitlam Express
Jesse Rougeau, PIJHL – Ridge Meadows Flames
Mark Keates, Ridge Meadows Minor Hockey
Nick Bruns, Ridge Meadows Minor Hockey
Jeff Smith, NCAA – UMass-Lowell River Hawks
Victor Bartley, NHL – Nashville Predators
Cody Campbell, France – Anger Les Ducs
Mitch Bartley, WHL – Vancouver Giants
Tim Daly, NCAA – St. Cloud State Huskies
Elgin Peirce, CIS – University of Calgary
Brett Allen, PIJHL – Ridge Meadows Flames
Kevin Robinson, PIJHL – Ridge Meadows Flames
Tom Willard, PIJHL – Ridge Meadows Flames
Parker Colley, BCHL- Prince George Spruce Kings
Boston Colley, AJHL – Lloydminster Bobcats
Justin Georgeson, CIS -UBC
Sean Pesut, PIJHL – Ridge Meadows Flames
Tom Willard, PIJHL – Ridge Meadows Flames
Dylan Silvestri, Ridge Meadows Minor Hockey
Jeff Martens , ECHL – Johnstown Chiefs
Nick McBride, Prince Albert Raiders
Marco Carotenuto, PIJHL – RM Flames